First Arizona; now Nebraska. Abortion is plummeting in some states, and the trend seems to follow staunch pro-life efforts that seek to stand up for women through abortion-restrictive legislation. According to the Associated Press, Nebraskan abortion rates have been on the decline since 1992, when they were 5,600 — a sharp contrast to today’s rates in the state, which are below 3,000 abortions annually.
According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the decline has looked something like this:
Year Total Per 1,000 live births
2008 2,813 103.9
2009 2,551 93.8
2010 2,464 93.9
2011 2,372 90.9
2012 2,299 87.5
As outlined by the Guttmacher Institute, Nebraska has a significant number of laws in place that seek to protect women and minors from predatory abortion practices, such as mandatory counseling on the psychological effects of abortion. Nebraska laws also protect conscience rights by allowing providers and insurance companies to opt out of performing abortion or limit coverage of abortion, respectively.
In the article, the AP goes out of its way to proffer the theory that fetal pain does not exist; nevertheless it is the 20-week abortion ban, catalyzed by the facts of fetal pain, that are credited with the most recent decline in Nebraska abortion rates. Said Julie Schmit-Albin of Nebraska Right to Life:
“I suspect that (the law) continues to drive the numbers of abortions down.”
Because the state Department of Health and Human Services has not analyzed reasons for the downward trend, no conclusive reason for the decline is readily available. It is likely that the fall can be attributed to a number of different factors. The Nebraska government’s full, fourteen-page report on Nebraska abortion rates in 2013 can be found here.